Careers in Psychology

Health Career

Health psychologists promote good health through health maintenance counseling programs that are designed, for example, to help people stop smoking, lose weight or reduce stress. Health psychologists are researchers and practitioners concerned with psychology's contribution to the promotion and maintenance of good health and the prevention and treatment of illness. As applied psychologists, they may design and conduct programs to help individuals stop smoking, lose weight, manage stress, or stay physically fit. They may also serve as counselors for medical patients who are adjusting to or recovering from physical illness. As researchers, they explore psychological and behavioral factors that are associated with health and illness. In public service roles, they may work to improve government policy and systems for health care. Health psychologists frequently work in medical centers as researchers and clinicians and in industrial settings as health promoters and consultants. They may also work in rehabilitation centers, health maintenance organizations, public health agencies, private practices, and colleges/universities. Doctoral and masters programs in health psychology are relatively new. Most health psychologists now earn their degrees within other areas of psychology, such as clinical, counseling, social, or biopsychology, but they concentrate their studies, research, and/or practical experiences in health psychology.